A neckbeardy dude is up on a ladder changing a flickering fluorescent light bulb in the video store one evening as Lydia and Jackson pull up outside. They’re arguing about what video to rent—well, Jackson’s arguing; Lydia’s just shutting him down like a boss. And the boss wants to watch The Notebook. Jackson is surely no match for the manly allure of Ryan Gosling, and he knows it.
Sure enough, Jackson trudges into the empty store, grumpily asking for someone to help him find his least favourite movie of all time, The Notebook. In the background, the phone is ringing unattended, and Jackson starts to get the feeling that no one even works there.
As he rounds the corner of the aisle, he sees that not only is the ladder still in the middle of the room, lightbulb still flickering, but someone’s feet are poking out from behind a nearby aisle. Neckbeardy dude is lying in a congealing pool of his own blood, with his throat torn out. Jackson backs away, terrified, and knocks over the ladder behind him. This, in turn, knocks against the half-fixed light bulbs and shorts out the power to the rest of the store.
Outside, Lydia is obliviously fixing her already-perfect makeup and taking photos of her own fine self for perfection reference purposes.
As the lights flicker and die, Jackson notices something all the way across the dark store—a pair of ominously glowing red eyes. He backs away slowly and sort of huddles up against a shelf of DVDs, as though that’s going to save him from red-eyed toothy death.
And then, because this is apparently an episode of Scooby-Doo, Jackson slowly peeks around the corner of the video wall to remind the red-eyed toothy death monster that he’s still there and still extremely tasty. Jackson, oh my god. Where is your common sense?
There is clearly something in the Beacon Hills water supply that makes people 01) extremely attractive and 02) really stupid in the face of red-eyed toothy death monster danger.
The RidicuWolf—for that is certainly what we’re dealing with here—darts past Jackson with a snarl, and he returns to his former huddled-in-terror position. RidicuWolf’s next gambit is to knock over a series of DVD shelves and squash Jackson under their domino chain of B-movies.
Jackson struggles for a bit, his legs pinned by the fallen shelves. He suddenly realizes that the sound of growly savage animal panting is no longer coming from across the room, but from directly behind him. OHNOES.
The RidicuWolf reaches out a grotendously clawed handpaw towards Jackson’s neck, presumably getting ready to chow down, when it notices the claw marks left by Derek earlier in the week. They’re still not healed, and are now glowing with a creepy reddish-purple light. As Jackson shivers and freaks and generally waits for his messy awful death, the RidicuWolf instead withdraws its handpaw and runs away.
It smashes through the front window of the video store, scaring the absolute crap out of Lydia, and gallops off into the night.
Stiles and his dad are sitting in the Sheriff’s squad car eating some takeout. Sheriff Stilinski is grousing about the lack of curly fries, but Stiles is not about to let his dad be so careless with his health. No curly fries for you, dad.
Before the fry denial battle can get messy, a call comes in over the police radio—trouble at the video store.
The Stilinskis pull up outside the video store, where Jackson and Lydia are being poked at by EMTs and looking extremely surly about the entire experience. Stiles sees them and makes a startled puppy face that he’s clearly learned from Scott.
Jackson is super grumpy about not being allowed to go home, because god forbid someone should show the slightest bit of concern that he might have a concussion. Sheriff Stilinski tries to calm him down but Jackson just gets more and more flustered. Lydia watches with a long-suffering look on her face.
Stiles is shamelessly eavesdropping on Jackson’s hysterical meltdown when the EMTs remove the neckbeardy dude’s body from the store. Of course, being Stiles, he totally shouts OH MY GOD IS THAT A DEAD BODY, thus immediately drawing everyone else’s attention to the body, and his dad’s attention to his own goofy self. Oh Stiles.
Up on the roof of the video store, Scott and Derek are watching the entire scene. Derek is apparently trying to use this as an object lesson to Scott, so Scott will understand why Derek is so determined to find and stop (and presumably kill) the Alpha. Scott, as we know, is not the cleverest puppy in the pack, and the attempted lesson raises more questions for him than it answers. Derek just kind of sighs and maybe looks a little constipated.
As they walk away across the roof of the video store, a spiral design kind of spookily lights up beneath their feet—the same spiral design we saw around Laura’s grave. Neither Derek nor Scott seems to notice anything amiss.
Over at Derek’s falling-down hellhole of a house, Scott’s whining once again about how Derek has ruined his entire life. Scott doesn’t care about the stupid Alpha anymore, he has homework! And parent-teacher conferences! Derek thinks maybe NOT DYING might be a little bit more important than Scott’s tedious little concerns. They huff and roll their eyes at one another like 12-year-olds, and it is utterly hilarious.
Derek points out that there’s less than a week until the next full moon, and Scott’s either going to have to go out and kill something—or someone—with the Alpha, or be killed himself, unless he and Derek are able to stop it. Scott hates these stupid werewolf rules, and having Derek excuse them as a “rite of passage” doesn’t seem to help much. Scott just wants to graduate from high school and make out with his girlfriend a lot!
Derek now looks super constipated, and frankly, Scott’s whiny tantrum is starting to grate on my nerves as well. Derek can’t find the Alpha on his own, but Scott, having been bitten by the Alpha, has an automatic connection. Derek just has to stay patient for long enough to teach Scott HOW TO DO IT. This looks kind of like a losing battle.
Scott whinges a bit more about not understanding what to do, and while Derek certainly looks like he’s pondering Scott’s horrible death, he nevertheless explains that Scott needs to learn how to control his shifting abilities. This explanation involves breaking Scott’s hand like a rice krispie treat, which Derek seems to find rather satisfying. Maybe Scott will be able to survive after all, if he uses pain to hold on to his humanity.
Allison’s shoving her school books into her bag and heading out of her bedroom when Kate stops in for an apologetic conversation about her crazy creeper behavior with Scott the other night. Allison assures her that it’s all forgotten, but Kate’s not buying it.
Anyway, she has a combination “I’m sorry”/early birthday present for Allison—it’s a necklace; Kate says it’s a family heirloom. It’s a sort of gold medallion thing with a sun and a wolfy thing and a series of 5 interlocked rings and is, quite frankly, pretty tacky looking. Allison thinks it’s fantastic and basically the best present ever.
Kate also tells her, kind of cryptically, that if Allison ever wants to learn a thing or two about their family history, she should look up the meaning of the symbols on the medallion. Kate loops the medallion’s chain over Allison’s head and sends her off with a hug.
Allison arrives at school wearing her discohunter medallion, but alas no bedazzled polyester jumpsuit. She opens her locker and a bunch of helium balloons launch themselves out into her face. BIRTHDAY SURPRISE! Lydia’s also left her a birthday card. Allison makes a little frowny face of exasperation, although she tries to hide it when Scott comes over to see what’s going on. How do you not know your own girlfriend’s birthday, Scott?
Luckily for Scott, Allison hates her birthday and doesn’t really want to talk about it all that much. It turns out that she’s a year older than all her classmates, and it makes her super uncomfortable.
In totally unScottlike fashion, Scott actually has some insight onto the situation—he guesses that Allison had to repeat a year because her family moves around so much. Allison and literally every single other person on earth is shocked and delighted at Scott’s sudden cleverness. Everyone else has always assumed that Allison was held back for being dumb, or was in special ed, or had a baby or something. Scott feels retroactively awful for all the crap she’s had to put up with over the years.
His cleverness then leads him to tell Allison that they should skip school that day for important birthday reasons. Allison looks like he just asked her to feast upon cold roast babyflesh with him.
Allison’s never skipped so much as a single class before, so she’s really hesitant to skip the entire day, but no human being on Earth is any kind of a match for Scott McCall’s plaintive puppy eyes. Off they go for adventures and lots of making out!
In chemistry class, the teacher, Mr. Harris, reminds the class that parent-teacher conferences are that evening. He abruptly notices that Scott isn’t in class, and looks like he’s getting ready to interrogate Stiles on his whereabouts. Jackson comes in late to class like it ain’t no thang, and he’s obviously working from long experience, from the way Mr. Harris totally plays favorites with him. He tells Jackson he can leave early if he wants, in case he needs to get over the trauma of having been unable to watch The Notebook with his girlfriend.
Then Mr. Harris is mean to Stiles, so he is clearly the most terrible person ever and is probably an evil demon. Stiles just gives him a little tiny death glare and leans over to ask Danny if Lydia showed up to school today, and if anyone knows what happened to her and Jackson last night. Danny’s answer to both questions is no—Jackson wouldn’t discuss it with him, even though they’re best friends.
Stiles has one last question for Danny, despite the fact that Danny has visibly lost every last bit of his considerable patience…. Stiles wants to know if Danny finds him attractive. Then he falls off his chair.
Dear the entire internets, I am sorry but if you do not love Stiles Stilinski beyond all reason then we just can’t be friends. FYI.
Scott and Allison run out to Allison’s car giddily. She’s wittering on about how her dad would kill her if he ever found out she was cutting class, but Scott has more immediate concerns, like the school security guard’s car turning down their parking lot lane. He finally manages to get her to start the car, and they drive off to cuddleland.
Jackson’s in the bathroom, shirtless because MTV loves us, standing in front of a sink in the locker room. He’s got a grim, cranky look on his face. The camera pulls back and oh joy, he is in a towel. Jackson fusses a little at the still unhealed claw marks on the back of his neck—they look pretty gross and infected, actually.
Jackson walks over to his locker and throws on a bit of what, no lie, appears to be Axe body spray, and I cry a little from lols. Across the locker room, in the steam from the showers, Jackson suddenly sees two glowing red spots coming toward him. He backs away with a helpless little whimper, only to feel ridiculous when it turns out to be some dude with light-up LED headphones on. The dude looks at him like he’s a weird creeper, all panting twitchily in a towel in the locker room.
Sorry, Jackson, but it’s not quite time to calm down just yet. He turns around and Derek’s doing his usual hotass lurking thing right behind him. Jackson somehow manages not to shriek like a small child. Before Derek can even say anything, Jackson wibbles out that he has no idea where Scott is. The “oh god please don’t kill meeee” is fairly implicit.
But Derek’s not there looking for Scott; he’s looking for Jackson, because he knows Jackson saw something the other night at the video store, and Derek very much wants to know exactly what that was. Jackson swears up and down that he didn’t see anything, no matter how much Derek presses him. Even when Derek gets up all obscenely close in his face (oh yum), he sticks to his story.
Derek grabs Jackson by the hair, immediately spawning a thousand breathless fanfics, and turns his head to the side to examine the infected claw marks. He tells Jackson, with a magnificently obnoxious smirk, to maybe have someone look at it, before gliding away gorgeously into the night.
I know they’re trying for total and abject fear in this scene but oh my god, Jackson looks like he is suffering from the most massive terrorboner known to mankind.
Stiles finally gets out of class and calls Scott, who is not thrilled to hear from him. Stiles wants to know if Scott’s heard anything about what’s going on with Jackson and Lydia, and Scott promises to figure something out—LATER. He hangs up on Stiles and drives off into the woods with Allison.
They wander through the forest smiling UNBELIEVABLY foolishly at each other, I can’t even. THEIR FACES. I WILL EAT THEM WITH JAM.
Predictably, lots of making out happens.
Lydia’s actually at home today, sprawled out on her bed in her nightgown, quite obviously heavily medicated. Her mom knocks on the door to tell her that Stiles has come to visit. Lydia has no idea what’s going on, and it is adorable and I love her forever.
Lydia wants to know what the hell Stiles is doing in her bedroom, and he tells her he just wanted to make sure she was okay. The best part of this entire scene is how Stiles doesn’t let his eyes look at anything but her face the entire time, even though she gets all up in his business, groping at his biceps and giggling adorably.
She eventually admits that she saw something that scared her really bad, but she’s not really sure what it was. Maybe a mountain lion? Stiles isn’t convinced by this description, as Lydia immediately identifies a nearby stuffed giraffe as another mountain lion. Then she passes out with her face on his thigh and Stiles is reduced to a whole lot of ecstatic whimpering.
Back in the forest, Scott and Allison are stumbling around and cuddling aggressively. Allison sends Lydia a text to thank her for the birthday card and balloons, and then turns off her phone to devote every last moment of her attention to Scott.
Stiles climbs out from under Lydia’s octopus-like cuddle attack and tries to flee, but of course he cannot possibly resist when Lydia asks him to stay awhile. Unfortunately, just as Lydia looks like she’s about to make all his teenage dreams come true, she calls him “Jackson” and passes out flat on her face. So alluring!
Lydia’s phone rings with Allison’s incoming text, and Stiles, being unbelievably nosy, picks up the phone to check the message for Lydia. He can’t figure out how to access the message function, and instead plays the video that Lydia accidentally recorded at the video store, of the Alpha running away. WHAT.
On the other side of the forest, Kate Argent and two moronic-looking shotgun-toting thugs approach Derek’s house. Thug A reminds Kate that Chris wants them to wait and not kill Derek just yet, but Kate brushes him off—that doesn’t mean she can’t say hello, right?
Ugh, I love her so much when she’s being a creepy sociopath.
Inside, oh god yes thank you, Derek is doing shirtless pull-ups, and I love this show and I am going to marry it on the astral plane. I can absolutely overlook the unbearably ghastly music that’s playing, too.
What’s that you say? Did I hear someone say “oh god liz please link us to a sweaty gifset?” WHAT A GOOD IDEA.
Derek drops down for some push-ups on the filthy floor when he gets the feeling that something is amiss. And indeed there is something amiss—it’s Kate Argent and her moronic thugs doing a spot of breaking and entering. She eventually draws Derek out of whichever shadow he’s lurking in by taunting him with the details of his sister’s messy death. Okay, so Kate is clearly a terrible person. Hm…
Nope, I’m still almost unbearably into her, sorry.
Thug A gets thrown across the room as Derek finally makes a (hot, shirtless, sweaty) appearance. He smacks Thug B around a bit while Kate watches with what can only be called barely-disguised glee. Hey, at least she’s consistent?
Derek turns to her next, but she’s ready for him, with a giant goddamn cattle prod thing. Derek leaps at her but takes a few zillion volts to his torso, and ends up in a twitchy heap on the floor.
Kate paces around him creepily, noting that he’s grown up in all the right places. OHOHO so it looks like they have a history then.
Stiles is home, trying and failing once again to get Scott on the phone. He’s still totally freaked out about the video he saw on Lydia’s phone, and he has no one to freak out with. In the midst of his flailing, his dad knocks on the door to make sure he’s going to hear only good things at the parent-teacher conferences that evening. Stiles doesn’t have much in the way of good news for his dad in that respect, alas.
Stiles stares at his phone, grumpily willing it to ring, but it’s just not going to happen.
Scott and Allison are literally prancing through the forest like a goddamn Disney movie. This is embarrassing, oh my god. It’s basically a musical montage of them being unbearably fucking adorable and I refuse YES REFUSE to recap this scene any further in case I slip into a diabetic coma.
Stiles eventually deletes his copy of the video Lydia took, and just sort of sulks in his bedroom for a while.
Back over at Derek’s house, he’s still curled up on the floor hating life, the universe, and everything, especially Kate. She’s looming over him with the cattle prod thingy and smiling a really fucking evil smile that is much too hot. Derek lunges for her again, and she zaps him again, because Derek just can’t learn his lesson.
Kate also has some really weird news for Derek, which, of course, she taunts him with—the Argents weren’t actually the ones who killed Laura, they just found her dead and cut her in half, because they’re fucking creepers. Oh, and they wanted to lure him out of hiding, obviously.
Derek’s not buying it though, as Kate has certainly had a lot of experience manipulating him in the past. Maybe he can learn SOME lessons.
Kate gets all creeper badtouchy close to him and tells him to listen to her heartbeat to see that she’s telling the truth, and says once again that they didn’t kill Laura. She also points out that Laura’s body had bitemarks on it, and that right there is what the Argents are really after—the Alpha. Derek just has to tell her who the Alpha is, and everything will magically be okay.
Oh Kate, you magnificent maniac. Let’s just you and I make out a whole lot, because Derek isn’t going to answer you. He can’t, actually, because he has no idea who the Alpha is. In conclusion we should bone.
As Kate turns to leave, Derek lunges from his huddle on the floor. She whirls around and fires her wtf goddamn machine gun at him, but he’s not running toward her—he’s running away into the forest, half naked and fully freaked out.
Over at the vet’s office, Dr. Deaton is also trying to get in touch with Scott, who is still not answering his phone. As he hangs up, there’s a visitor at the door—Sheriff Stilinski. The Sheriff wants Dr. Deaton to have another look at some crime scene photos to see if he has any further thoughts about the potential animals responsible for the attacks. Dr. Deaton reminds the Sheriff (he’d better have a name by season 3 or so help me I will choke a bitch) that he’s no expert on forensics, but he’s glad to help out nevertheless.
The Sheriff asks if Deaton was sure about his belief that the attacker was a mountain lion, because he has some troubling new evidence. Although there were no cameras inside the video store, the parking lot had some security cameras, and the police department got some images from them.
In the first two photos, something wolflike is smashing through the front windows of the store and landing in the parking lot; it’s huge and creepy, but nothing wildly unusual. It’s the third photo that has the Sheriff the most concerned, because in this third photo, you can see the Alpha, wolfed out like whoa, but walking upright like a human. DRAMATIC MUSIC!
Dr. Deaton looks interested, but not nearly as much as the Sheriff was probably hoping. He wonders aloud if it could have been a bear, but Deaton confirms that bears would run on all fours. He’s also starting to look a little bit nervous. The animals caged in the back of the clinic are similarly getting nervous and barky. Deaton tries to make his excuses and flee, but the Sheriff asks him one last time if there’s any chance this could still be a mountain lion. Deaton looks even more nervous and basically just runs off, claiming a sick Doberman really needs his help immediately.
Allison and Scott run back toward Allison’s car. It’s fully dark outside by now and getting cold. Allison tells him this was the perfect birthday, and they glow delightedly at once another. Scott ruins the moment by suddenly realizing that he’s supposed to be with his mom over at the school at the parent-teacher conferences, which are happening right at that very minute.
Mr. Harris is meeting with Jackson’s parents, telling them what an excellent student he is, and how unusually driven he is. Jackson’s parents were hoping he might have loosened up a bit, frankly. They think he’s so tense because he’s adopted and has never met his real parents, which is a really bizarre way of looking at things, tbh.
Meanwhile, Jackson is out on the practice field with a couple of beers and his lacrosse stick, trying to get the ball into a paint can he’s nailed to a tree. He’s really incredibly unsuccessful, and is rapidly losing both his patience and his temper.
Lydia’s estranged parents are carping at one another in their meeting, and are rather surprised to hear from the teacher that Lydia is a fantastic, brilliant student with a zillion friends.
Back at home, alone, Lydia is putting on makeup to cover her blotchy, tearstained face. She fakes a sunny smile at her reflection in the mirror.
Stiles’ dad is meeting with Coach Finstock, who is hilariously startled to realize that maybe Stiles’ real first name isn’t actually Stiles. Because what parent in their right mind would name their kid the same thing for their first and last name? Nope, Stiles’ real first name is right there on his file, and the coach can’t figure out how to pronounce it. It was his mom’s father’s first name, and he’s never really liked it.
Finstock Crazyface tells the Sheriff that Stiles is super smart but super distractable and never lives up to his potential (ugh, high school flashbacks). For example, for the final question on the midterm, Stiles wrote an essay on the history of male circumcision. The Sheriff looks a little concerned by this, but hey, whatevs, it’s important historical information, right?
Finstock: Yeah, but I teach Economics.
Meanwhile, Stiles is at home, rooting through his dad’s files on the Hale fire, noting that arson was suspected.
Melissa McCall is trying to get her wayward son on the phone. She’s meeting with Mr. Harris, who tells her that Scott’s been not only distracted, but cutting classes, and he thinks it has something to do with his home situation. He then shows his true utter douchebag colors by telling Melissa that he thinks Scott needs a father, since she’s not enough of an authority figure.
Chris and Victoria Argent are meeting with Allison’s teacher, who has nothing but great things to say about her, except that she’s concerned about maybe a little bit of teenage rebellion. The Argents assure her that they have a close and open and honest relationship with Allison, and the teacher just smiles and says she hopes Allison is feeling better, since she was absent from school all day.
Allison and Scott pull up to the school, at the very same moment Melissa is exiting the building and leaving yet another incredibly pissed off message on his voicemail. He sinks down into the passenger seat of Allison’s car and whimpers a little.
Right behind Melissa is Chris Argent, who is leaving a similarly enraged message on Allison’s voicemail. Victoria’s on the phone with Kate, who also hasn’t heard from Allison.
Melissa McCall approaches them and introduces herself as Scott’s mom, and lets them know that she hasn’t heard from Scott either. Chris is pretty nasty to her, blaming her for Scott’s stupid behavior and claiming that he basically kidnapped Allison. Uh, okay dude, no.
Before they can really throw down, Chris spots Allison and Scott getting out of the car. Parental rage is all around and everyone on the entire Earth is about to get grounded. Luckily, people over on the other side of the parking lot start screaming and fleeing! Yes, it’s a lucky murderous creature diversion.
Instead of running away from the unknown danger, Scott starts running toward it and trying to identify it with his wolfy senses. Allison wanders off kind of aimlessly, because who even knows what she is thinking. ALLISON STOP THAT. Chris, of course, runs to his car to get one of his millions of guns.
Scott catches sight of something down on all fours and moving fast, and in response, his eyes start to glow with that wolfy glow. Allison also catches sight of the creature and starts backing away from it slowly, right into the path of an oncoming car. Scott gallops over to drag her out of the way.
Stiles’ dad has also exited the school into the chaos, and is trying to shoo everyone off to safety. Instead, he gets knocked over by the same car that almost ran Allison down. While on the ground, he hears the roaring of the mysterious creature and reaches for his ankle holster.
Before he can do anything, Chris Argent fires two shots from his giant fucking handgun. Everyone wanders over slowly to see an actual dead (so fake oh my god so fake lol) mountain lion breathing its last breaths. Chris looks almost depressed to see it, and he and Scott share a weird sort of look.
What the hell is even going on here?